After continuous investment over the last 15 years, GM of Brazil is ready to boost exports of engineering and design services.

It now has one of the automaker’s most modern technological centres worldwide, next door to GM’s Brazilian head office and manufacturing plant in São Caetano do Sul (Greater São Paulo City) plus a large and fully-equipped proving ground in Indaiatuba, 70 miles northwest of São Paulo.

“We never imagined reaching the point of selling automotive intelligence from processes entirely developed by our engineers and technicians,” said Marcos Munhoz, vice-president of public relations. As an example of what GM Brazil can do, he cites the new Cobalt compact sedan to be introduced by the end of the year, designed completely here.

In the division of GM product development worldwide, Brazil primarily is responsible for mid-size pick-up trucks like the Chevrolet S-10 sold here and the Colorado sold in the US. Compact cars are assigned to GM Korea, formerly GM-Daewoo Automotive and Technology. Yet an opportunity for new businesses has arisen.

“It is up to South Korea to design the more sophisticated compacts destined for mature markets. Here our engineers have specialised in tough, yet fashionably styled cars, trimmed in such a way as to not make them too pricey. These may be sold or produced in Latin America, South Africa, Russia or in southeast Asia, taking into account our expertise in that and our  top-level technical infrastructure”,  said Jaime Ardila, CEO of GM South America.

This strategy made possible that, in 2011 alone, the Brazilian subsidiary exported US$500m in engineering and design services (40% of its total sales made abroad).

This is the alternative for the coming years in order to offset difficulties caused by the Brazilian real currency’s high value which makes it ever more difficult to export manufactured products, especially light vehicles.